Rising energy prices and the slower economy are prompting small-business owners to rethink spending plans, according to Wells Fargo.

In a survey of 600 owners nationwide, as many as half said they've postponed major purchases in the past three months, the San Francisco-based lender reported this week. Just under half said they have less cash going into savings, while 31 percent have reduced the amount they're putting aside for retirement, the survey found.

"It has been a challenging year for small businesses," Rebecca Macieira-Kaufman, the head of Wells Fargo's small business segment, said in a statement. "What's critical now, as in any economic environment, is that business owners maintain strong financial management practices and plan for the future," she said.

About a third of survey respondents said their personal finances were getting worse. While most were concerned with paying for gas or regular medical and dental expenses, up to 46 percent feared unforeseen medical emergency costs in the months ahead.